Lawmakers come to blows in Iraqi Kurd parliament
A lawmaker from the Goran movement described as “futile” attempts by Barzani’s party to extend his stint in office
Lawmakers exchanged blows in the Iraqi Kurdish parliament during a debate Wednesday on extending the mandate of the autonomous region’s president, Massud Barzani, an official said.
The tenure of Barzani, who has been Kurdistan’s president for nearly a decade, has been a bone of contention for years in the region that touts itself as a democratic haven.
The tensions boiled over Wednesday after a lawmaker from the Goran (Change) movement described as “futile” attempts by Barzani’s party to extend his stint in office.
“The argument occurred between the two deputies from (Barzani’s) Kurdistan Democratic Party, on the one hand, and a deputy of the Movement for Change, on the other, which turned into a fistfight,” said parliament spokesman Tariq Jawhar.
The brawl disrupted a planned session of parliament to debate an oil and gas bill that has now been postponed, Jawhar told AFP.
Barzani was first chosen as president of Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2005. His current mandate ends on August 19.
Out of 111 parliamentary seats, the Kurdistan Democratic Party holds 38 while Goran has 23. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, led by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, is the third strongest party.
Iraqi Kurdistan includes the three northern provinces of Sulaimaniyah, Arbil and Dohuk.